Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lesson: The Gift of Gratitude

Teachings for Our Time, The Gift of Divine Gratitude, Thomas S. Monson
Taught by Jill Fairchild

An attitude of gratitude
President Monson recounts the story of the 10 lepers who after being healed by Jesus went away, except one who returned to give him glory and thanks.

"Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love."

Today in Relief Society we focused on President Monson's admonition to remember to give thanks for our blessings. 
My beloved friend President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives.”
A new kernal of truth
In the story of our Savior feeding 4,000 with seven loaves and a few fishes, the key truth is that he gave thanks for the meager meal before the miracle took place that multiplied the food, enough for many with extra leftover.

Take note of this truth and ponder your own approach to God in your prayers. Perhaps more thanksgiving will precede the miracles you long for in your life.

Once you turn to the Savior and give your thanks he will make you "whole", a spiritual blessing the other nine lepers did not receive.

There is much to be thankful for in this world.
Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.

This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.

We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
How can we have more gratitude?
If gratitude is the parent of all other virtues. We want to cultivate it. So, what can we do to have more gratitude?

Marie suggested more humility. Joseph F. Smith said, “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.”

Ellen and others point to journaling about your blessings or the ways God has touched your life, especially during dark times. This focuses us on God and his goodness, it gives perspective to our problems, and it fixes in time your gratitude so it can be revisited later.

Cheryl even suggested making more effort to be thankful for our trials and what they teach us.

Amanda testified that the antidote to depression and despair is to count our blessings.

As we do, we spiral up to seeing more blessings and then up to receiving more blessings...perhaps being made "whole" as Christ did with the 10th leper...and that ingratitude can lead down to feeling unheard by God, then feeling unloved and unlovable, and so on downward, as Jill, Owenna and Bethany reminded us.

Margie suggested that we find inspiration from other's stories such as Corrie Ten Boom whose sister found something good in every day during their awful stay in a WWII concentration camp.

And last, more prayer...President Monson reminds us "that a prayerful life is the key to possessing gratitude."

Give the gift
A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude.

Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
Do as President Coe counseled us a few weeks ago: If you feel the inspiration or gratitude, act on it right away; don't wait.

Of Christ, President Monson urged, "Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude."



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